The Minister in charge of the Government's response to the measles outbreak continues to urge people to get vaccinated against the disease – and is leading by example.
Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter took her one-year-old son Joaquin to get an MMR vaccination this afternoon.
Although little Joaquin cried, Genter told the boy a short bit of pain was much better than getting measles.
"What we had here was maybe a minute or two of crying, but I know he's going to be healthy – I wouldn't want to have him in Starship [children's hospital] and be concerned about brain inflammation [as a result of measles]," she told the Herald as she comforted him.
The number of people with measles has climbed to nearly 1000 across New Zealand with more than 800 cases in Auckland alone.
Usually, it is encouraged that children are vaccinated at 15 months.
But the Ministry of Health says that children in Auckland are currently encouraged to have their first MMR at 12 months.
Genter said since she takes Joaquin up to Auckland regularly, she wanted to get him vaccinated early.
She encouraged other parents, who bring their children aged less than 15 months to Auckland regularly, to do the same.
"Vaccination is the only way to prevent measles, which is a very serious illness."
Measles can be life-threatening for children, she said.
Starship Children's Hospital boss Dr Mike Shepherd penned an open letter over the weekend, outlining his "extreme concern" about the measles outbreak.
"Some children are likely to die because of complications due to measles," he said.
This comes as a mum, whose son nearly died from measles after she chose not to vaccinate, is calling on parents who don't vaccinate their kids to reconsider their decision.
Ally Edwards-Lasenby didn't get her son Cameron his shots when he was younger – a decision she came to regret when he came down with a life-threatening case of measles at 13.
Speaking to media last night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – who told reporters last week her one-year-old daughter Neve was up-to-date with her vaccinations – was also again urging people to get vaccinated.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, who was with Ardern, said the number of people with measles was expected to keep climbing for another week or two.
The Ministry had put additional nurses into communities, particularly in Counties Manukau, and 25 more nurses were currently being trained, Ardern said.